The Q&A Archives: Selecting Plants for Planter boxes

Question: I have 40 feet of planter boxes bordering 2 decks on the rear of my hillside home. There is a view so plants have to be low growers or can be pruned. The plants must be evergreen in zone 17. I would like to have blooms most of the year. I have used geranium years ago with some success. What do you recommend? I am also changing all soil in the boxes. Please recommend a soil mix. I would like to use one plant for the entire span.

Answer: Soil in planter boxes can be either straight potting soil or a mixture of potting soil and garden soil. For small planter boxes, a good grade of potting soil is the best growing medium; it drains quickly yet holds just the right amount of moisture for most plants. You didn't mention whether you wanted annuals or perennials. I'd use annuals - they can be changed or replaced with each season, providing you with an attractive and different look. Petunias, gazania, scaevola, and vincas hang down and will take heat and sun. It's usually a good idea to plant some flowers that stand up in the middle, as well, to create a full look. Salvia, marigold, zinnia, tithonia, cosmos and coreopsis will take sun and heat. Good luck with your containers!

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